Betting Basics

How To Bet On College Football

May 16, 2023

College football gameday will soon be back. Are you ready for it? On August 26th, the 2023 season kicks off, and with it, countless betting opportunities to strike it rich.

If you’re new to college football gambling, the sheer variety of available bets can be overwhelming. But don’t let that stop you. It just means you need to do some research before you dive in.

Today, our experts will show you how to bet on college football, covering the format, types of bets, and early predictions for 2023.

How NCAA Football Operates

NCAA Football’s Division I —  specifically, the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) — is the most competitive and popular college football division, making it the prime destination for most wagers. It’s made up of 10 conferences, split into one of three groups:

Power 5 Conferences

  • Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)
  • Big Ten Conference (Big Ten)
  • Big 12 Conference (Big 12)
  • Pac-12 Conference (Pac-12)
  • Southeastern Conference (SEC)

Group of 5 Conferences

  • American Athletic Conference (AAC)
  • Conference USA (C-USA)
  • Mid-American Conference (MAC)
  • Mountain West Conference (MWC)
  • Sun Belt Conference (Sun Belt)


  • Notre Dame
  • Brigham Young University
  • Army
  • Navy

If you want to know how to bet on college football online, you should be aware of the history of the Power 5 conferences, as they have consistently been the top dogs and the most dominant on the national stage. Since 2010, 9 of the last 13 winners came from the SEC, 3 from the ACC, and 1 from the Big 10.

FBS Scheduling

Scheduling in the FBS usually includes eight conference games — four home and four away — and four out-of-conference games. As the season progresses, teams are ranked by the College Football Playoff (CFP) selection committee, a 13-member association that evaluates performance based on factors like:

  • Conference championships won
  • Strength of schedule
  • Head-to-head results
  • Comparison of results against common opponents

At the end of the season, the top-ranked four teams meet up for the college football playoffs. The winners of each semi-final then duke it out in the FBS Championship Bowl. That said, in 2024, the playoffs will eventually expand to a 12-team format.

How To Bet On College Football

If you’re still learning how to bet on college football games, reviewing the more common types of available bets and how to read the odds will prepare you for more advanced strategies and discussions down the road.

Some of the basic types of bets include:


A moneyline bet is the simplest of CFB bets. With two teams facing one another, you only need to pick the winner. But, because there’s often a massive talent disparity in college football programs, the odds and payouts are usually unfavorable.

With moneyline betting, the two teams will be assigned different odds according to the matchup. The favorite will be assigned a negative number, and the underdog a positive one. For negative numbers, the given figure represents the amount you would need to bet in order to win $100; whereas positive numbers represent the potential payout for a $100 wager.

For instance, the Georgia Bulldogs are coming off back-to-back FBS championships. Over the last two seasons, the team has lost a single game. And, their season opener takes place on September 2nd, at home, against unranked UT Martin.

Given the choice between the two teams, practically every single football expert would predict that Georgia wins handily. In that case, you could bet on the money line. But, because the contest is expected to be so one-sided, the provided odds and payout wouldn’t be great. It might look like this:

Team-Moneyline Odds

  • Georgia -3000
  • UT Martin +2500

In this instance, you would need to wager $3000 to win $100 on Georgia. But, if you bet $100 on a UT Martin Upset, that wager would pay out $2500.

The Spread

Unlike many professional sports, college matchups tend to be more uneven, especially given the massive talent and funding disparities between programs. As a result, the spread is usually a more popular bet than the money line, because the odds and payout are better.

The spread levels the gambling playing field by assigning a handicap to the favored team and a cushion to the underdog, based on their relative strengths.

How this works is simple: the sportsbook sets the spread—i.e. the specific number of points that the favored team is expected to win by. If you wanted to bet on the spread, you would take one of two wagers:

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  • The favored team will win by more points than the spread indicates
  • The underdog will either win or lose by fewer points than the spread

For example, let’s say the spread for Georgia UT Martin is 28 points. A betting slip might look like:

Team – Spread

  • Georgia Bulldogs (-28) – 110
  • UT Martin (+28) – 110

In this scenario, if you bet on the Bulldogs to cover the spread, you would need them to win by at least 29 points to make $100 on a $110 wager.

Over and Under

The over/under, sometimes called the totals, is a type of bet that lets you wager on the number of points scored by both teams combined. Instead of choosing a winner, you can bet on whether the two teams will combine to score below or above the given totals line.

Typically, this figure is the expected total scoring outcome, plus or minus a point.

So, if Georgia is predicted to win 45-17, the O/U line would be 62, though it’s usually set with a half-point total — something like 62.5 — to prevent a push (an outcome where there is no winner or loser).

In this scenario, if you placed a $100 wager on the over, any outcome that resulted in the teams scoring 63 or more points would payout as a winning ticket.

Who are the Top Teams In 2023?

As mentioned, the back-to-back champion Georgia Bulldogs will begin the 2023 season as the clear favorites. But they won’t be the only program vying for that top spot. While this ranking will likely change in the coming months, as of now, the early CFB rankings could be:

  1. Georgia (+230) – 15-0, won College Football Playoff national championship
  2. Alabama (+520) – 11-2, won Sugar Bowl
  3. Ohio State (+700) – 11-2, lost CFP semifinal
  4. Michigan (+900) – 13-1, lost CFP semifinal
  5. USC (+1300) – 11-3, lost the Cotton Bowl
  6. Clemson (+1500) – 11-3, lost Orange Bowl
  7. LSU (+1700) – 10-4, won Citrus Bowl
  8. Florida State (+2000) – 10-3, won the Cheez-It Bowl
  9. Texas (+2500) – 8-5, lost Alamo Bowl
  10. Penn State (+2500) – 11-2, won Rose Bowl

Another popular type of CFB bet is futures. These wagers allow you to predict the future outcome of the season before it even kicks off. You can place bets on a variety of scenarios and potential outcomes, such as:

  • Team wins their division
  • Team wins their conference
  • Team makes a bowl game
  • Team makes the CFB playoffs
  • Team makes the CFB championship
  • Team wins the CFB championship

Who Are the Top Players?

Another type of future bet you can make is on individual player propositions that recognize the outstanding performance of players throughout the season. Below, we’ll list some of the early favorites for the major position trophies:

Heisman Trophy

The most prestigious individual award given to the best player in college football, regardless of position. Currently, the top contenders for this award are:

  • Caleb Williams, QB, USC (+450)
  • Michael Penix Jr. QB, Washington (+1200)
  • Drake Maye, QB, UNC (+1200)
  • Jordan Travis, QB, FSU (+1200)
  • Kyle McCord, QB, Ohio State (+1600)

Fred Biletnikoff Award

This award is presented to the nation’s top wide receiver. While there are a number of high-quality wide-outs entering the 2023 season, Marvin Harrison Jr. is the clear favorite and is considered to be the most promising wide receiver prospect since Calvin Johnson. He currently has the highest odds of any non-QBs to win the Heisman at +2500. Other contenders include:

  • Emeka Egbuka, Ohio State
  • Rome Odunze, Washington
  • Xavier Worthy, Texas
  • Malik Nabers, LSU

John Mackey Award

This honor is granted to the most outstanding collegiate tight end. And, like Marvin Harrison, Brock Bowers of the Georgia Bulldogs is also considered to be a generational prospect. He already won the award in 2021 as a Freshman and is the odds-on favorite to reclaim the award in 2023. Other contenders include:

  • Brevyn Spann-Ford, Minnesota
  • Ja’Tavion Sanders, Texas
  • Jaheim Bell, Florida State
  • Bryson Nexbit, UNC

Doak Walker Award

This award is presented to the nation’s top running back. And this year, the field of viable candidates for the 2023 season is quite deep. Early favorites include:

  • Blake Corum, Michigan
  • Quinshon Judkins, Ole Miss’
  • Raheim Sanders, Arkansas
  • Bucky Irving, Oregon
  • Braelon Allen, Wisconsin


The 2023 college football season is nearly underway. And, now that you know the basics of how to bet on college football online, you can start preparing.

Looking for a CFB sportsbook? Welcome to Tipico — the hub for NCAA football betting. You can wager on live lines, odds, player props, parlays, rapid markets, teasers, and more. If you live in Ohio, Colorado, New Jersey, or Iowa, getting started couldn’t be easier.

Simply sign up to start winning big with Tipico.

Tipico staff contributions